Flashback June 2008

A flashback to what I was reviewing in June 2008:

Day of the Scarab by Catherine Fisher. Sequel to The Sphere of Secrets. From my review: “A world with gods, where those in control stopped believing. But it turns out the gods and the myths are real; and a handful of people, including a young priestess, a scribe, and a thief, are chosen by the god to fix things. . . . It’s a bit weird writing up something for a third book; on the one hand, if you’ve read the other 2, you are breathless and eager to read this one. On the other hand, if you haven’t, what I want to say is this: Here is a brilliantly plotted fantasy, tightly told, over three volumes. It is worth your investment to go, read the first, and continue thru all three. This final book has a wonderful conclusion; it addresses the main issues raised in the trilogy (restoration of the Oracle, threats of rebellion, the preservation of religions) yet does not answer every question.

Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson. Series: M.T. Anderson’s Thrilling Tales. From my review: “The Thrilling Tale of Katie Mulligan (you remember her from the Horror Hollow Books), Jasper Dash (Boy Technonaut) and Lily Gefelty as they encounter Whales — on — Stilts. (I’m saying that in my Pigs In Space voice.) . . . To begin with: “On Career Day Lily visited her dad’s work with him and discovered he worked for a mad scientist who wanted to rule the earth through destruction and desolation.” Could there be a better opening line? Or summation of a plot? Lily herself is quietly observant: “Lily believed that the world was a wonderful and magical place. She believed that if watched carefully enough, you could find miracles anywhere.” . . . But, as I said, you don’t need to know that Katie is RL Stine come to life or Jasper a throwback to the 20s/30s to enjoy the humor. Dad works in an abandoned warehouse on edge of town. With a receptionist. That, my friends, is the type of humor I adore. An abandoned warehouse where the father doesn’t realize something is up, is just plain crazy; add in a receptionist for the evil people? And chums, it is brilliant.

King Of Shadows by Susan Cooper. From my review: “Present-day Nat is a teenager and actor who is in a staging of one of Shakespeare’s Plays. Then, boom! Time slip happens and he’s back in the day, meeting the real Bard.

Gray Horses by Hope Larson. From my review: “This graphic novel looks at the experiences of a French exchange student in America; the art and text is deceptively simple. Noemie struggles with loneliness, fitting in, finding friends; and is also having odd dreams about horses.”


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